From the editor:

Power up

Oct. 23, 2019

I remember that Christmas clearly. We had opened presents around a tree set up in our lower level, and I ran upstairs to have breakfast. But what was that in the living room? Could it be? It was! My parents had bought and set up a video gaming system for us. It was unexpected but completely awesome to my younger self.

Granted, this was quite some time ago and video gaming was a lot different than it is today, but it was still pretty cool. I put a lot of hours into playing all of the different games we accumulated. Even in high school, groups of my friends would come over for competitive games of Pac Man or Space Invaders. I’m not sure if it really taught us much, but it improved my hand-eye coordination, and it definitely kept us out of trouble.

Today, video gaming is incredibly popular all over the world. With advances in technology, opponents from across the globe can compete online. Tournaments are viewed by crowds of people and games are no longer just for fun. Gaming is used as a teaching method for children and even in military training. The industry has definitely powered up since that Christmas long ago. 

Here at MSU, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences is home to the only program in game design and development in the Big Ten, which is ranked in the top 10 by Princeton Review. Students get a ton of hands-on experience and work with state-of-the-art technology. Check out the MSUTODAY FEATURE: Game on, to learn more about the program and see some of our students' great work.

Robby Ratan, an associate professor of media and information does research in the field of game studies. He says, “a question we should all consider is, ‘When does gaming become unhealthy?’” Read his FACULTY VOICE: Healthy gameplay for kids, to learn about his work and signs of unhealthy gameplay.

I remember that I asked for my game system partially because so many of my friends had one. I certainly didn’t want to miss out on what everyone else was doing. Today, we call that FOMO, or fear of missing out. Dominik Neumann is a media and information doctoral student and researcher in media and information who has examined the phenomena. Check out his STUDENT VIEW: FOMO is real, to learn why he says it can be used to encourage positive behavior.

While video game design students are creating giants to face onscreen, other MSU students are befriending them for real. Bridget Walker is a third-year veterinary medicine student who has had the incredible opportunity to be part of an MSU team caring for a pregnant black rhino at a Lansing zoo. Read her STUDENT VIEW: Befriending a gentle giant, to learn about her experience caring for this endangered momma-to-be.

Other students are playing games for real, on fields, courts, pitches and in pools. And while Spartans do their best to win in athletic competitions, it’s even more important when they’re winners in the classroom. According to new NCAA data, MSU student-athletes posted an all-time high for graduation success. Way to power up, Spartans.

It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve played any kind of video game, but I do feel like Spartans power up to new levels every day no matter what they’re doing. We’re always looking for one more solution to one more problem. We’re battling monsters like cancer and other diseases. We’re addressing environmental concerns and teaching tomorrow’s leaders in every field you can imagine. In the game of life, Spartans are out to make everyone a winner. #SpartansWill.

Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday
twitter bird@LMulcrone

Photo by Derrick L. Turner